Call Center Etiquette

Life-in-general is very much like a telemarketing call-room. The steady drone of a room-full of people saying the same words over and over can actually become a comfort. The intrusion of a bird chirping should be a welcome sound but instead it is an intrusion, a distraction. In the call-room it is the press for like-mindedness that will sell the IDEA.

Life outside the call room is not so different. Every member of every group takes part in the steady, monotonous drone of their “call-room”. The keywords may be Salvation, or Sobriety or Jesus or Bill W or Mitt or Obama but the sound of the Drone is the same no matter what the tag or the category.


When placing the call, remember, you’re calling one of your own.


Patooey !!!

Have you ever wondered what holds Cuban cigars together? It ain’t Elmer’s glue.

Do you happen to know why we’re supposed to turn down the flame when the water starts to boil?

Why do skin moisturizers often contain alcohol?

Why do we agree that we have the power to make ourselves happy but insist on falling in order to love?

The answer to the first question is Cuban spit.

As for the boiling water, consider that as a metaphor for marketing. The flame is the cost of doing business. Get it now?

With the skin moisturizers, the healing effects are a true life example. Like the boiling water, do too good of a job and the sales go down. (Alcohol dries the skin). Get it now?

Have a conversation with yourself about Falling in Love. Love is outward bound with no expectation of return. As marketers we often miss the point.

Doing Business in the Twenty First Century.

Questions we ask before we trust your new idea  By Seth Godin.

Who are you?

Do I trust you?

Am I afraid of it?

Will this work for me?

Who says it’s important?

What will my peers think?

These are all variations of one complicated thread: how will this process make me feel?

Even though that’s all we care about, marketers seem to think it’s fine to spam, fine to focus on specs and important to talk mostly about price.

Seth Godin. Seth’s Post. 8.25.2012

For 200 years the questions mentioned above have been the driving force behind doing business in America. The reputation for quality and integrity were the secret of thirty years of business success with Lee Broom Gallery and Design. These were also the traits that led to the demise of these stores. Today, Wal-Mart competes mainly with Amazon; hanging out at the mall is being replaced by Facebook and Printerest. I’ll never return to a marketplace that has a market share of 50000 when I have internet access to millions. Quality? Sure I’ll always provide quality.Perfection?  Not so much.

Lee Broom. 8.25.2012

Thank you. (No problem)


I thanked a clerk yesterday. The response was “No problem”.

When did this start? When I moved to Phoenix in the late sixties? No. When then? It may have had something to do with the insertion of Spanish as a growing second language. In fact I believe I became accustomed to “de nada” long before I heard “No problem”. So, “what’s the problem?” with “No problem”?

Nothing. That in fact, is my point.

“No problem” is not an answer to “Thank you”.

Had I apologized for aborting the clerk’s intended egress from the Customer Service arena, her head already filled with ideas of what package of treats to extract from the vending machine, her focus revealed by the glazed look of endorphin deprivation, of course that answer would be appropriate.

What must I do to receive a proper “You’re welcome”? Even the old lady clerks and the old men clerks are saying it. Perhaps that isn’t a good example. A lot of older people who have been thrust back into the work place after spending a lifetime of anticipation of Globe Hopping in the Winnebago are angry at the way things turned out for them. I can understand that one, yes I can. I can definitely understand how some people, when they hear the words “Thank you”, actually think they heard an apology.

Okay now, there other examples of linguistic nuisance rattling around in my noggin such as the re-entry of “aksed” into the English language after a four hundred year absence, or the diminishing use of the silent “G” or the rampant mis-pronunciation of the “I” as in “short-lived”, brought on by the practice of lowering the hiring requirements of those who will read the news from teleprompters.

Perhaps, if I wait long enough, the practice, of using commas, will become an individual choice. And punctuation propriety will vanish, along, with, paper money, automobiles, and monogamy.

(I never did learn how to properly use commas…….or money………or how to conserve car mileage or the other thing.)

Thank you


Age Discrimination in the Workplace. Eschelon M.S.


Summertime is bad for the art business, great for writing and occasionally boring. When boredom begins to overshadow all else, I leave my desk and look for a job. I always arrive for an interview expecting to be hired. I apply only for inside sales work or business to business telemarketing. Yesterday I applied for a sales job which involves getting renewals on merchant services and encouraging existing customers to understand new and better ways of making this service increase their revenues.

Over the last several years there has been introduced to the interview ritual,  a new element,  the look of surprise on the face of the interviewer when he or she discovers that the  73 year-old face emerging from the shoulders of the person before them has the same thirty year old voice leaving its mouth that they heard over the phone days earlier. I’ve had so many rejections follow these surprised looks that one would wonder why I arrive expecting to get the job.

There are at least two reasons for this. One is that my friends are the people who run this country. They are senators and CEOs, even a couple of U.S. Presidents. All of these people are in the same age bracket as I. The other reason is that out of more than fifty productive years only three of these years contain these rather irritating kinds of experiences.

Last night as I assisted in a production put on by the City of Phoenix seeking proposals from the artists of the community, I noticed how differently I was treated by the people at this event and in everything else that I do vs. the biased behavior of prospective employers.  Earlier in the day I met with a new publisher. We discussed ideas about how to release my latest book on Leadership. Also during the day I placed and shipped orders for a nutritional company that I have owned for five years and I sold a painting (another of my business interests).  I started the day by “interviewing” with a nervous young man named Nick. He worked for Eschelon Merchant Services.

Nick had a firm hand shake but that was all. From the moment we sat down it was clear that his job was to get rid of me. He certainly didn’t know how to conduct an interview. He asked me read the telemarketing script. Rather than play the role of the customer he used this part of the interview to search my resume. Everything on the page he was reading made it clear that I was the man for the job.

“I don’t see anything on here about this kind of work” said Nick looking up at me for the first time.

I pulled out my copy and read my qualifications. It was embarrassingly clear that my qualifications were flawless.

“Well, I have a lot of people to interview, I have three people waiting right now”.  stammered my interviewer. I turrned and looked back at the empty waiting room on the other side of the glass.

We shook hands. I left. When I met with the publisher later on, I told him about the incident. Jim laughed; I chuckled along with him and asked, “Can you sell a book on age discrimination?” “I’ll think about it” he said.  He reminded me that when I talked about this on radio last month, that it didn’t exactly ignite a firestorm of enthusiasm.

“Are you finding everything okay?”

Originally posted in on 14 November 2011.

Rather than go to the Gym on Mondays, I often go instead to Scottsdale Fashion Square for a brisk one hour walk, after which I wind down with a half hour of hands-on window shopping. Today was just such a day. I had a very tight schedule and this would save ninety minutes. The one hour walk seemed more like fifteen minutes; perhaps, because I kept getting ideas and not wanting to interrupt the walk, I’d stop only for a minute and jot down a key word or two. Or three. At last, my hour was up and here before me was a lone leather couch in front of Barney’s New York. (When I visit Barney’s I get this creepy feeling that there are five or six sales people hidden behind a fern watching my every move.)

Rested, I move on.

First store: Macy’s. I was handling a plaid shirt of wool flannel. It bore the Polo guy on the chest and I was thinking that I really like the quality and the traditional styling of Polo garments and that it seemed a shame to pay double what the garment was worth simply because of the label and then to spend another ten dollars to have the label removed. As I muttered to myself an attractive young lady of twenty-seven and a half or so edged toward me with a glowing smile on her lips and said to me “Are you finding everything okay?”

We talked for a minute and I went on my way, thinking as I walked, “that young lady needs to take a course in Customer Service” And I remembered some of the insanely original things I had done and said in earlier days in my own retail stores in order to encourage intimacy and leave the customer feeling that they were not intruding, and that this could be their home away from home if they liked this place and then I’d get out of their way.

I walked into Dillard’s and was examining white dress shirts. I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew exactly where to find them. A mature lady of normal girth and a more controlled smile than that of the young lady at Macy’s; a smile which said little and hinted at a surprise or two faded as she said to me “Are you finding everything okay?”

I told her what I wanted. She inspected the shirt I was wearing as I explained that I was shopping for two more just like it with a fifteen inch collar and a thirty-three inch sleeve. She quickly informed me that Dillard’s no longer sold this shirt and then attempted to up-sell me. I thanked her for her assistance after telling her that I did not want a substitute. I did not tell her that I had already found the shirts that I’d been looking for.

I walked to the Food court and visited with an old friend who managed one of the restaurants there and then continued for one last look at Macy’s.

As I walked toward Men’s Suits the young lady with whom I had spoken earlier walked over to me and said “Hi”.”

“Much better” I thought.

“You know, I meant to ask you earlier, ‘where did you buy that shirt you’re wearing’. It’s beautiful. That is no ordinary white dress shirt. The unusual weave, the way the fabric falls without that stiff look that dress shirts usually have when they come back from the cleaners. Is it hand laundered?”

We finished our conversation in the food court. Muriel is actually almost thirty, has never married and wants to be a store manager in four years. I really like my new shirt.


Hey, Wait for Me.

In the seventies all was good. My children began to marry. Business was great. The first grandchild appeared. And then another and another. My wife had disappeared with the family wealth but by doing so had given me an opportunity to experience freedom for the first time in my adult life. Becoming a purposefully sober person, also for the first time in my adult life, made it possible to experience this freedom in a way I would never have guessed was possible.

In the eighties I remarried and lost the freedom, lost the business, retired for a year, had a few drinks to feel better, discovered the futility of such a silly choice and returned to sober living. Got a job for a year. Self confidence returned and I began to rebuild my business. During this decade Asian economies boomed, some western economies faltered and the world began to change.

The nineties began with optimism, previously primitive Asian markets grew, enabling countries like South Korea to become first world powers. In North Korea Kim Jong Il, succeeded his father Kim Il Sung, US markets faltered, my own business soared through the first half of this decade and practically fell apart in 1995. I shut down my stores, moved my business from uppity North Scottsdale into low rent quarters in Phoenix, got an evening job and started over.

The new decade began with a stunned Lee Broom working two jobs, running a business and completely oblivious to the problems that the new decade brought to an optimistic America. I lived in an old office, 250 square feet, and questioned nothing. I stayed sober and prayed often.

By the end of this decade I had worked myself out of a short-lived period of poverty, rebuilt my business on credit cards and rediscovered my grandchildren. And their children. The first week of the new Presidential Administration marked the end of Lee Broom Gallery and Design, at least for a few months. I moved from a 2000 foot apartment into smaller but nicer quarters and began to learn new ways to market my wares and my skills.

There is a story woven thorough all this. It is the story of the citizens of the United States of America. In America there are people who will never have anything. This is primarily because they believe this is so. And they may be right. We must care for them and wherever possible help them to move into group two. And there are those who never give up and learn from their mistakes and move on. They do this because this is their reality. These are the people who keep the wheel turning. When a company downsizes those who are released from their careers decide which of these two groups they want to choose as their new reality. Some help reroute success, others know only their loss. During these times of difficulty I have belonged to both groups. There are no dollar signs on the measuring stick that I use to measure success. I have managed to stay in the Successful group more often than not because of another asset that I have not mentioned until now. I tithe. I don’t mean financially because I am not much of a Churchy kind of guy. But as a sober person for more than thirty-five years I have had another occupation which takes up a minimum of ten percent of my time; I make myself useful in the community by helping others. I’ve helped drunks get sober, hungry families get fed, taught oldsters how to use a computer, built a children’s theater, read to the blind and driven old ladies to Church and returned to pick them up when the service is over. Sometimes I even stayed for the service and sang when told to do so.

These activities keep me grateful. And I socialize with others who do the same. Within this group of people I call my friends, are those who are suffering and those who are not. I see people who once ran large corporations presently mowing lawns and cleaning kitchens.

I am 72. I am writing several books at a time and intend to publish this year before my eyes give out. I am learning how to take a business which first relied on retail stores, then upon sales calls and eventually on emails, greeting this new century by learning how to do all of the above and tie it all together with the internet, with social networking, a part-time job and a sense of gratitude to a Higher Power I call Love. I could never have comprehended such joy when I was twenty and driving my long, long convertible with a bottle of whiskey in my left hand, the steering wheel in my right and a very bad attitude. The bad attitude returns occasionally. But not for long.

I love my life and I love living it.

Customer Satisfaction is the basis upon which succesful businesses are built. Customer Service can improve or destroy a business depending on whether the Customer receives good Service or GETS "Serviced".